The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a children's book
written by Eric Carle, first published by the World Publishing
Company in 1969.
The winner of many awards,
it has sold 30 million copies
It is highly popular and has been praised for its use of
easy-to-read words which makes it good for teaching young
children to read.
The book contains 225 words and large, colourful illustrations.
It follows a caterpillar as it munches its way through a variety
of edibles such as ice cream, salami, watermelon, one slice of
Swiss cheese, and a lollipop before it finally pupates and
emerges as a beautiful butterfly.
Eric Carle talks about The Very Hungry Caterpillar
>>>>> Video <<<<<
The story teaches counting to
5, the names of the days of the week, and about different types
of food. The caterpillar's diet is a fictional fantasy but the
story does introduce the magic of the metamorphosis from egg to
caterpillar to butterfly. It is widely regarded as one of the
best children's books ever written.
- Day 1: The main character is established. The hungry
caterpillar eats through a single red apple.
- Day 2: The caterpillar eats through 2 green pears.
- Day 3: The caterpillar eats through 3 purple plums.
- Day 4: The caterpillar eats through 4 red strawberries.
- Day 5: The caterpillar eats through 5 whole oranges.
- Day 6: On this day, the caterpillar devours its way
through many, many different foods including; chocolate
cake, ice-cream, a pickle, swiss cheese, salami, a lollipop,
a cherry pie, a single sausage, a cupcake and a whole
- Day 7: The caterpillar eats through a single leaf.
- Final chapter: The caterpillar cocoons itself and comes
out as a beautiful butterfly. The hungry caterpillar is
hungry no more - neither is it a caterpillar.
The original title of the book was to have been A Week
with Willi Worm, featuring a bookworm named Willi. However,
Carle's editor advised that a green worm would not make a very
The book was inspired by a hole puncher:
"One day I was punching holes with a hole puncher into a
stack of paper, and I thought of a bookworm and so I created a
story called 'A Week with Willi the Worm'. Then my editor
suggested a caterpillar instead and I said 'Butterfly!' That's
how it began," said Eric Carle, the author.
Accolades and awards
The book has won numerous awards from a variety of
publications, libraries and parenting groups including a
citation from The New York Times as one of the Ten Best
Picture Books of the Year in 1969; an American Institute
of Graphics Arts Award in 1970; the Selection du Grand
Prix des Treize in France in 1972 and a Nakamori Reader's
Prize in Japan in 1975.
It was a favourite of George W. Bush who preferred it when
reading to children on campaign.
The book placed at number 199 in the Big Read, a 2003 poll
conducted by the BBC to determine the United Kingdom's best
loved books. It was one of the very few picture books to place.
In 2009, Google celebrated the book's 40th anniversary by
changing the logo on its main search page to the style used in
The story has been translated into over 50 languages and it
was featured on Sesame Street in the early 1990s.
It was adapted for television in 1993 by the Illuminated Film
Company in an anthology called The World of Eric Carle
that included four other Carle stories: The Very Quiet
Cricket, The Mixed Up Chameleon, Papa, Please Get
The Moon For Me and I See A Song. Narration on the
DVD of the programmes entitled The Very Hungry Caterpillar
and other stories is performed by Roger McGough and Juliet
Stevenson whilst in the Walt Disney distributed version the
voices used are those of Brian Cummings and Linda Gary.
Although a theatrical film has not yet been produced, the
film and TV rights were sold for £1 million in 2005.
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